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    Default Is the tier system based on optimization?

    I`ve seen the tier thing mentioned several times, and I wondered: how much optimization was assumed when the tiers for each class were determined?

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    Default Re: Is the tier system based on optimization?

    From what I can tell, it's not so much based on optimisation as it is based on the potential for game breaking optimisation.

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    Default Re: Is the tier system based on optimization?

    Well looking at the reposting on Brilliant Gameologists it's supposed to assume any level of optimization as long as it is equal, and that enough optimization can make you go up one tier and if badly done you can drop one or two.

    Personally I'd say a badly played wizard isn't much better than a badly played fighter, if even that. Unoptimized blasting, ignorance of buff/utility spells, etc can really leave a wizard weak, but with even moderate rule knowledge they can rise to a decent player and in the hands of an experienced player they can change the face of the game (found that out last time I played one ). Druid on the other hand even if badly made his Animal Companion and Wild Shape or spells will put him ahead of a badly made fighter or most other classes. So how much optimization is needed for each class to really perform varies, and the tier system can only assume moderate optimization as the known and go from their.

    But here's a link to the thread on Brilliant Gameologists http://brilliantgameologists.com/boa...p?topic=1002.0.
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    Default Re: Is the tier system based on optimization?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Big Dice View Post
    From what I can tell, it's not so much based on optimisation as it is based on the potential for game breaking optimisation.
    Not quite. It is assuming a very low level of optimization. Not zero optimization, but not very high levels (no PrCs for example.) Some classes the only optimization assumed is the obvious stuff. So for example, part of why the Dread Necromancer gets to be Tier 3 is the assumption that you have taken Tomb-Tainted Soul at level 1, so you can get easy healing. If you don't have TTS then it arguably drops a Tier.
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    Default Re: Is the tier system based on optimization?

    As Zaydos said, it's based on the notion that the players at your table are at roughly the same level of optimization. A really well-made Barbarian in a group of poorly-conceived list casters (Warmage, Dread Necromancer, Beguiler) may seem roughly on par, but if everyone has approximately the same skill in creation and tactics, the Barbarian will feel useless more often than the list casters would.
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    Default Re: Is the tier system based on optimization?

    I'd say it assumes at least some optimization. Casters have the highest variance mostly due to spell selection. The less optimization the closer the tiers come together. Some classes do have a significantly higher floor than others (Druids, martial adepts, etc.)

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    Default Re: Is the tier system based on optimization?

    Quote Originally Posted by JoshuaZ View Post
    So for example, part of why the Dread Necromancer gets to be Tier 3 is the assumption that you have taken Tomb-Tainted Soul at level 1, so you can get easy healing. If you don't have TTS then it arguably drops a Tier.
    This is not true. There were no specific assumptions of optimization, and if you read the initial thread it's quite clear about this. Certainly, there's no assumption that you take TTS as a Dread Necromancer... the DN was ranked more for its ability to raise and maintain armies of the dead and its fear abilities than its self healing (though the potential to self heal was certainly considered as well).

    The assumptions were only that the players understood the classes they were playing, played by the rules as written, and optimized to roughly the same degree as each other. Thus, it compares a DMM:Persistant Cleric to a Power Attack/Shock Trooper Fighter, or a healbot Cleric to a Fighter that takes Oversized Two Weapon Fighting as a main style. It doesn't deal with a Cleric whose player doesn't know anything about what spells are any effective in whatever situations they're dealing with or a Fighter who plays diplomat because his group just RPs instead of using skills.

    While it doesn't go into PrCs, it makes no assumptions about whether you take them or not... it's just not talking about those levels, so you'll have to gauge things based on how much you think the PrC changes your power level. After all, a Cleric/Radiant Servant of Pelor isn't really that different from a standard Cleric... they both have the same spells, which is the main thing anyway.

    All of this is explained in the post. And before anyone says it, no, it's not about comparing solo classes or about PvP duels. The overall gauge is "in a given reasonable D&D situation, how much could the class itself help deal with the situation?" Classes that are often mechanically useless or nearly so in situations are ranked lower (imagine a Barbarian trying to help when the party is dealing with diplomatic negotiations, or a Rogue when fighting plants and oozes), as are classes that just aren't that mechanically strong in any situation (hi there, CA Ninja!). Classes that have some mechanical tool that could just solve virtually every situation that can come up are ranked highest of all (Clerics, Wizards, etc).

    The overall goal is to get DMs to consider the balance of their party when deciding what parties to allow and when designing encounters, as well as when designing house rules for the various classes and such. Too many times have I seen house rules that nerf Monks (they have so MANY abilities) while buffing Sorcerers (they're weaker than Wizards!) and it would be nice to make it clear to such DMs where the classes stand before the house rules start.

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    Default Re: Is the tier system based on optimization?

    Going off the definition of the tiers, they are based on what you can do, and how well you can do it. If you can build a fighter that is "Capable of doing one thing quite well, while still being useful when that one thing is inappropriate," then your highly optimized fighter is tier 3 instead of tier 5. If you manage to build a Psychic Warrior that is only "Capable of doing only one thing, and not necessarily all that well" then your failure of a psychic warrior is tier 5.

    Beguilers, Warmages, and Dread Necros can't really move down unless you don't put enough points into the casting stat. Say you were dependant on a stat boosting item and the DM opens up with MDJ followed by trapping you in another dimension leaving you only able to cast spells a quarter off your level.

    Moving them up is basically just finding a way to expand their spell list.

    Healers can move up a tier with access to exalted spells. Going from I cure you 18 hp that the enemy is going do three times over to you to I damage him and make him blind. Or making enemies miss due to you giving the monk a double mage armor effect.

    A monk can move up if it figures out its MAD and uses ACFs like Hidden Fist.

    Paladins can take battle caster and use the supermount that was probably just the designers putting the wrong name down, from Sandstorm to bump himself up a tier.

    A Marshal or Bard in a party of tier 6&5s probably pushes them up a tier. They become good at what they were doing.


    I think most optimization caps out at tier 2, but I haven't really been too focused on making tier 2 classes tier 1.

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    Default Re: Is the tier system based on optimization?

    It doesn't assume any particular level of optimization. Rather, the Tier system is about the potential for optimization. The question asked is, what can a player do with this class? For example, a Tier 2 will behave in some situations like a Tier 1 (world-breaking power) and in some like a Tier 3 or lower because of their limited ability to specialize. This varies depending on who's playing the character. The classes are Tier 2 not because an optimized Tier 2 is better than Tier 3 and worse than Tier 1, but because Tier 2s can be optimized in certain ways, and can have certain blind spots, both of which are characteristic of the Tier.
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    Default Re: Is the tier system based on optimization?

    Quote Originally Posted by Amphetryon View Post
    As Zaydos said, it's based on the notion that the players at your table are at roughly the same level of optimization. A really well-made Barbarian in a group of poorly-conceived list casters (Warmage, Dread Necromancer, Beguiler) may seem roughly on par, but if everyone has approximately the same skill in creation and tactics, the Barbarian will feel useless more often than the list casters would.
    You should really re-word your post. "Poorly-conceived" is not a word I'd used to describe the DN or the Beguiler. And if you meant poorly-optimized, there's really not a lot of ways you can mess up a Beguiler, unless you dump Int.
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    Default Re: Is the tier system based on optimization?

    Quote Originally Posted by Frosty View Post
    You should really re-word your post. "Poorly-conceived" is not a word I'd used to describe the DN or the Beguiler. And if you meant poorly-optimized, there's really not a lot of ways you can mess up a Beguiler, unless you dump Int.
    It's very easy to mess up a beguiler. It's easier to mess up a sorceror, but it's still very easy to mess up a beguiler. You may have access to all the nice spells you could want, unlike a sorceror who could simply only know crappy spells. However, you still have to know which spells on your list are good ones to cast. A beguiler is just as easy to screw up in this way as a cleric.
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    Default Re: Is the tier system based on optimization?

    Quote Originally Posted by Urpriest View Post
    It's very easy to mess up a beguiler. It's easier to mess up a sorceror, but it's still very easy to mess up a beguiler. You may have access to all the nice spells you could want, unlike a sorceror who could simply only know crappy spells. However, you still have to know which spells on your list are good ones to cast. A beguiler is just as easy to screw up in this way as a cleric.
    I'm not talking about play. I'm talking about builds. Even if you screw up one battle and cast the wrong spells, the next day you're reset at neutral. Past mistakes tend not to matter as much.

    A Fighter might also use Combat Expertise at the most inopportune time, for example. No class is idiot-prood when it comes to actual play, but some classes are idiot-proof when it comes to builds.
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    Default Re: Is the tier system based on optimization?

    Quote Originally Posted by Frosty View Post
    I'm not talking about play. I'm talking about builds. Even if you screw up one battle and cast the wrong spells, the next day you're reset at neutral. Past mistakes tend not to matter as much.

    A Fighter might also use Combat Expertise at the most inopportune time, for example. No class is idiot-prood when it comes to actual play, but some classes are idiot-proof when it comes to builds.
    Being idiot proof in builds contributes to being idiot proof in play. It's certainly an advantage of a beguiler that it's idiot-proof in builds, and that indeed contributes to its Tier position. However, a beguiler who's poorly played can feel just as useless and "low tier" as a CW samurai. Yes, of course that's not a flaw of beguiler in particular. It's simply a fact of the game that most if not all classes can feel lower tier if played poorly. That's the point you were responding to when I quoted you.
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    Default Re: Is the tier system based on optimization?

    Quote Originally Posted by JaronK View Post
    This is not true. There were no specific assumptions of optimization, and if you read the initial thread it's quite clear about this. Certainly, there's no assumption that you take TTS as a Dread Necromancer... the DN was ranked more for its ability to raise and maintain armies of the dead and its fear abilities than its self healing (though the potential to self heal was certainly considered as well).

    The assumptions were only that the players understood the classes they were playing, played by the rules as written, and optimized to roughly the same degree as each other. Thus, it compares a DMM:Persistant Cleric to a Power Attack/Shock Trooper Fighter, or a healbot Cleric to a Fighter that takes Oversized Two Weapon Fighting as a main style. It doesn't deal with a Cleric whose player doesn't know anything about what spells are any effective in whatever situations they're dealing with or a Fighter who plays diplomat because his group just RPs instead of using skills.

    While it doesn't go into PrCs, it makes no assumptions about whether you take them or not... it's just not talking about those levels, so you'll have to gauge things based on how much you think the PrC changes your power level. After all, a Cleric/Radiant Servant of Pelor isn't really that different from a standard Cleric... they both have the same spells, which is the main thing anyway.

    All of this is explained in the post. And before anyone says it, no, it's not about comparing solo classes or about PvP duels. The overall gauge is "in a given reasonable D&D situation, how much could the class itself help deal with the situation?" Classes that are often mechanically useless or nearly so in situations are ranked lower (imagine a Barbarian trying to help when the party is dealing with diplomatic negotiations, or a Rogue when fighting plants and oozes), as are classes that just aren't that mechanically strong in any situation (hi there, CA Ninja!). Classes that have some mechanical tool that could just solve virtually every situation that can come up are ranked highest of all (Clerics, Wizards, etc).

    The overall goal is to get DMs to consider the balance of their party when deciding what parties to allow and when designing encounters, as well as when designing house rules for the various classes and such. Too many times have I seen house rules that nerf Monks (they have so MANY abilities) while buffing Sorcerers (they're weaker than Wizards!) and it would be nice to make it clear to such DMs where the classes stand before the house rules start.

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    Default Re: Is the tier system based on optimization?

    Quote Originally Posted by JaronK View Post
    *snip long explanation*
    Thanks! That clarifies a lot.
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    Default Re: Is the tier system based on optimization?

    Quote Originally Posted by Urpriest View Post
    Being idiot proof in builds contributes to being idiot proof in play. It's certainly an advantage of a beguiler that it's idiot-proof in builds, and that indeed contributes to its Tier position. However, a beguiler who's poorly played can feel just as useless and "low tier" as a CW samurai. Yes, of course that's not a flaw of beguiler in particular. It's simply a fact of the game that most if not all classes can feel lower tier if played poorly. That's the point you were responding to when I quoted you.
    But the point was never in dispute. I was responding to Amphetryon's post, which said that (paraphrased) that a well-made barbarian feels on par with certain caster classes that are poorly-conceived.

    My post was really a request for clarification on his point, which was about builds, not play-styles anyways. Nothing in my post ever said that a poorly-played caster wouldn't feel just as useless as a poorly-played Samurai for example.
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    Default Re: Is the tier system based on optimization?

    Quote Originally Posted by Frosty View Post
    You should really re-word your post. "Poorly-conceived" is not a word I'd used to describe the DN or the Beguiler. And if you meant poorly-optimized, there's really not a lot of ways you can mess up a Beguiler, unless you dump Int.
    While taking under advisement your admonishment on how I should use the English language, I'll specify that 'conceived' was chosen to encompass feat choices, spells cast, and tactics used. It was a shorter phrase to include all aspects of a character as s/he actually shows up at a table and in the player's mind. I'm sorry the shorthand was offensive to you or confusing in some way, justifying such a strongly worded admonishment.
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    Default Re: Is the tier system based on optimization?

    The implication from your word choice was that the class itself was poorly-conceived, rather than the choice of customizable aspects.
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    Default Re: Is the tier system based on optimization?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kylarra View Post
    The implication from your word choice was that the class itself was poorly-conceived, rather than the choice of customizable aspects.
    Not with the qualifier of "a", indicating singular (a singular example of class and build and player combining for an iteration below typical expectation), rather than "the", indicating the class itself (stock standard expectation for an example of the class). At least, that's the way "a" and "the" are typically differentiated in sentences such as the one I constructed.
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    Default Re: Is the tier system based on optimization?

    Quote Originally Posted by Amphetryon View Post
    Not with the qualifier of "a", indicating singular (a singular example of class and build and player combining for an iteration below typical expectation), rather than "the", indicating the class itself (stock standard expectation for an example of the class). At least, that's the way "a" and "the" are typically differentiated in sentences such as the one I constructed.
    While I can see that as a reasonable interpretation, for what it is worth I also interpreted it on first reading a comment about the classes themselves.
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    Default Re: Is the tier system based on optimization?

    Quote Originally Posted by JaronK View Post
    While it doesn't go into PrCs, it makes no assumptions about whether you take them or not... it's just not talking about those levels, so you'll have to gauge things based on how much you think the PrC changes your power level. After all, a Cleric/Radiant Servant of Pelor isn't really that different from a standard Cleric... they both have the same spells, which is the main thing anyway.
    Tier System for PrCs

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    Default Re: Is the tier system based on optimization?

    Quote Originally Posted by Amphetryon View Post
    While taking under advisement your admonishment on how I should use the English language, I'll specify that 'conceived' was chosen to encompass feat choices, spells cast, and tactics used. It was a shorter phrase to include all aspects of a character as s/he actually shows up at a table and in the player's mind. I'm sorry the shorthand was offensive to you or confusing in some way, justifying such a strongly worded admonishment.
    Way to stuff words into my mouth, man. You win the intrawebs. My first post in this thread wasn't an admonishment (much less a strongly worded one) and there certainly wasn't any offense taken. There was certainly confusion though, and I'm not sure how you took my post as admonishment or anger.

    I am *now* offended by your sarcastic tone, but hey, if your post above was not in jest or sarcasm, then just ignore this.

    Besides, Your phrasing was of the sentence is indeed ambiguous.
    a group of poorly-conceived list casters (Warmage, Dread Necromancer, Beguiler)
    You designated a group with quality X (where X in this case is poorly-conceived, whatever you mean by it). Then, you list examples of members of the group with quality X. In what way did you make clear that you only meant individual, badly-used instances of said classes? The previous posters certainly read the phrase the same way I did.
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    Default Re: Is the tier system based on optimization?

    Quote Originally Posted by Frosty View Post
    Besides, Your phrasing was of the sentence is indeed ambiguous. You designated a group with quality X (where X in this case is poorly-conceived, whatever you mean by it). Then, you list examples of members of the group with quality X. In what way did you make clear that you only meant individual, badly-used instances of said classes? The previous posters certainly read the phrase the same way I did.
    You may have approached the issue too aggressively, is all. It sounded a bit more like a 'gotcha' post than a clarifying one, even if you only meant to clear up the ambiguity.

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    Default Re: Is the tier system based on optimization?

    Another thing.
    The tier system (the way I see it), gives more an idea of the strenght's gap between the various classes, it's not necessarly limited to what you can or cannot do.

    For example, take the Rogue (T4) and the Factotum (T3).
    Certain rogue's builds can reach Tier 3 or (maybe) even Tier 2, with the right feats (to sneak attack almost everything) and wise use of UMD.
    You can certainly optimize a Rogue to be better at his job, thus rendering the character more useful in a wider range of situation, but, considering an equal level of optimization, he will stay behind the Factotum.
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    Default Re: Is the tier system based on optimization?

    Killer Angel is correct in this. The comparison between classes was a higher priority than anything else, because it's about helping with intraparty balance more than anything else. The descriptions are loose ones based on "average" playstyle, and will usually be correct... but it's possible to optimize enough to jump from one tier to another. But with roughly equivalent optimization, the comparison between tiers will remain the same... a well optimized Ninja will always be two tiers behind a well optimized Factotum.

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    Default Re: Is the tier system based on optimization?

    It would be an interesting endeavor to write out how widely the different classes can vary across optimization. Some classes are easier to screw up than others - if you pick lousy spells on your sorcerer there's not much saving you, while it's a lot harder to mess up a wildshape ranger.

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    Default Re: Is the tier system based on optimization?

    Quote Originally Posted by WarKitty View Post
    It would be an interesting endeavor to write out how widely the different classes can vary across optimization. Some classes are easier to screw up than others - if you pick lousy spells on your sorcerer there's not much saving you, while it's a lot harder to mess up a wildshape ranger.
    This is what I'd rank as "built-in optimization." ToB classes tend to be very high in this level. Wizards and fighters are probably both roughly the same, it's just that wizards can go waaay beyond fighters. So on a scale of 1-10, ToB classes range from 5-8 while fighters from 1-6, and hence why ToB seem broken in certain groups, because no one optimizes beyond the bare minimum. Wizards range from about 3, with a poorly crafted wizard beating a poorly crafted fighter but losing to the poorly crafted ToB, but goes to 11 (breaks the system).

    In this instance, I'd say both high level of innate optimization (as ToB) combined with a low spread (also ToB) makes for the best. Characters are going to be adept at the role they choose (provided the player has the barest grasp on the system, like that wizards need Int), without giving a huge margin to those who have a mastery of the system.
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  28. - Top - End - #28
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    Milskidasith's Avatar

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    Default Re: Is the tier system based on optimization?

    Quote Originally Posted by Killer Angel View Post
    Another thing.
    The tier system (the way I see it), gives more an idea of the strenght's gap between the various classes, it's not necessarly limited to what you can or cannot do.

    For example, take the Rogue (T4) and the Factotum (T3).
    Certain rogue's builds can reach Tier 3 or (maybe) even Tier 2, with the right feats (to sneak attack almost everything) and wise use of UMD.
    You can certainly optimize a Rogue to be better at his job, thus rendering the character more useful in a wider range of situation, but, considering an equal level of optimization, he will stay behind the Factotum.
    While I agree with the overall sentiment, I don't see a rogue reaching T2 by any means... sneak attack + UMD won't be as good as a sorcerer.

  29. - Top - End - #29
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    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Is the tier system based on optimization?

    To me the tier system points out where the class starts

    your player's optimization (or lack of) of the build usually varies from +1 to -1

    in very rare cases (first time playing or using a very well optimized build) +2 or -2 but those usually end up facing DM intervention (i.e. ''you should reconsider, this is a really poor choice'' or ''don't be a munchkin'')

    average players will simply retain the initial tier


    as for the rogue vs sorcerer comment

    a rogue is nearly always useful except if the DM refuses to let him be (no social interaction, no traps, no locks, no sneaking, all creatures are crit immune and wands and scrolls are difficult if not impossible to find, in short you should be playing a video game instead of using a DM)

    while a sorcerer (with his limited skillpoints and spell selection) can often become useless (since you need CHA, CON and DEX you often dismiss INT)

    sure , he'll be useful in combat, but (much like a fighter), his limited skills and abilities will make him useless outside of it (despite having a high charisma, if you don't have synergy bonuses and actual ranks in the proper skills they won't be as useful as a rogue after a few levels)

    and , unlike a wizard, a sorcerer won't waste spells on utility spells

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Is the tier system based on optimization?

    The Tier system does over emphasis the differences, in my opinion. I have seen people have fun with a Monk, a Fighter and other 'low tier' classes. In fact, I have seen the Fighter been the most overpowered in the campaign. Frankly, I see little use for the Tier system except as a form of role play snobbery. If fun is had, then fun is had, and no Tier system can take that away.
    Quote Originally Posted by Calanon View Post
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